The requested resource (/media/wual/header/pb/header.html) is not available
Last updated 12:50PM ET
April 21, 2021
Governor Opposes Lower Water Releases From Georgia
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Gov. Bob Riley denounced the Army Corps of Engineers' decision to reduce the amount of water flowing downstream to Alabama from Lake Allatoona in Georgia, beginning Wednesday, saying it threatens water supplies, water quality and the state economy.

The Corps announced last month it would reduce by half the flow of water from Lake Allatoona, which feeds the Coosa River, a waterway that flows into Weiss Lake near Centre in Cherokee County and joins the Tallapoosa north of Montgomery forming the Alabama River.

In a letter Tuesday to the commander of the Corps of Engineer's Mobile district, Col. Byron Jorns, Riley said the federal agency's decision would have "serious consequences" for Alabama, where a severe drought has caused lake levels to drop to record lows for this time of year and threatened water supplies for some Alabama communities.

He said the decision also would affect water quality.

"The quality of water entering Alabama at Lake Weiss on the state line has teetered on the edge of failing to meet minimum water quality standards all summer," Riley said. "There can be little doubt that the radical reduction in water flows resulting from your decision will cause the water entering Alabama to consistently fail the most basic water quality standards."

Corps of Engineers spokesman Pat Robbins said Corps officials had just seen the governor's letter Tuesday afternoon and would have no immediate comment.

Riley said the Corps also cut water released from the lake near Atlanta earlier in the year.

"The very idea that they're talking about cutting back additional water out of the Allatoona reservoir is unconscionable to me," Riley said in a statement. "We're going to do everything we can as a state to keep this from happening."

Riley did not say what action the state might take to stop the reduction in water flow.

In his letter, Riley complained about the effect the reduction in flow would have on not just the Coosa, but also on the Alabama River, where dredging is currently underway to reopen barge traffic between Montgomery and Mobile.

"As the flow in the Alabama River decreases, the ability of industrial plants along the river to comply with their effluent discharge limits will be seriously jeopardized," Riley said. "If they are not able to comply, their operations will have to be shut down, and their employees will be laid off."

© Copyright 2021, APR - Alabama Public Radio